Election prolongs welfare impasse, says Peter Robinson
A proper attempt to resolve the welfare reform impasse at Stormont will not happen until after the general election, First Minister Peter Robinson has confirmed.
The ongoing stalemate after Sinn Fein withdrew support for the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) over massive benefits changes threatens other elements of the deal. These include access to loans to finance public sector redundancies and devolution of Corporation Tax.
The DUP leader revealed he and the other four main parties - Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Alliance - have made progress on a number of issues under the SHA thrashed out just before Christmas, which also includes moves towards forming a Stormont opposition.
"Decisions have been taken on other parts, but it is agreed that they will not be actioned until welfare has been dealt with," Mr Robinson told the Assembly.
"I think that it is probably fruitless for us to attempt to resolve that before a general election, but I hope immediately the election is out of the way to get that matter resolved because it is stopping the flow of the overall issues."